Rebecca Kadaga, the former speaker of Parliament who is also the First Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for East African Affairs, has cautioned that there is no need to exempt Government officials from paying the fees now required to use the Kampala Entebbe-Expressway (KEE).
Kadaga adds her voice to a plethora of other leaders who have insisted that Government officials, ministries, departments, and agencies pay for using the road.
“When the 10th Parliament enacted the Road Act, we did not see the need to exempt Government officials since there is an alternative road which is free,” Kadaga said.
These developments come in following the pressure from sectors of government to have their officials exempted from paying toll fees on KEE.
Gen. Katumba Wamala, the works, and transport minister, earlier this year, explained that it is only the presidential convoy and emergency vehicles, such as ambulances and fire brigade, which were exempted from paying the toll fees.
The Uganda National Roads Authority (UNRA) also insisted that all Government institutions are now required to plan for and acquire toll cards to ease the conduct of their operations while on the express highway.
UNRA executive director, Allen Kagina, said those who were seeking exemption were being unfair to those who were paying for the service.
“They want exemption, but want the same service. Let us all pay and enjoy the service. What is the service? The road is going to be maintained in excellent condition all the time, it will be lit, it will be secure and there will be cameras around,” she said.
Kagina further noted that there are massive discounts for those paying using the Upesi, weekly, and monthly cards for regular users.
On Wednesday last week, Asan Kasingye, the Police Political commissar, appealed to UNRA to reconsider exempting police patrol cars deployed on the KEE.
“UNRA, there is a designated Police patrol vehicle to check on criminality on that road to prevent crimes. It takes an average of 10 trips from Busega-Mpala and back. This makes it 20 toll passes at Shs5000 each totaling Shs100,000 per day and Shs3m per month. What do we do?” Kasingye tweeted.
The UNRA media relations manager, Allan Ssempebwa, however, urged the police to have operational budgets to cater for expressway tolls.
“Following insecurity concerns on the Expressway, we now have 24/7 security patrols, courtesy of toll fees. You also get to have free ambulances and towing services, not to mention the regular maintenance works,” Ssempebwa said.
Currently, motorcycles with over 400cc and not boda-bodas pay Shs3,000, light vehicles pay Shs5,000, medium goods vehicles pay Shs10,000, large goods vehicles and buses (4-5 axles) Shs15,000, whereas large goods vehicles will pay Shs18,000.
The KEE is a four-lane toll expressway under UNRA, linking Entebbe International Airport to Kampala City.